What next to do with my bottle collection after the bottle chandelier?
I have a fish tank from a slit scan experiment and some LEDs from the bicycle project. Let’s see what happens if I fill the fish tank with water and float some bottles in it. One of the interesting things about fish tanks is that you can conceal the light source with the internal reflection of water – where water or glass meets air it acts as a mirror when viewed from certain angles – in this case with the lights above and below illuminating bottles – particularly if they could be made to hover with neutral buoyancy. It just so happens that Jeff Koons had a basketball floating in a saline – water tank in the Ashmolean nearby at the time, so I could do the same with bottles, right? Kind of, with the help of a water pump to stir things around.
Extract from conversation between Katherine May (KM) and Hugh Pryor (HP) on Facebook Messenger, January 3rd 2019.
KM: … What medium do you work in?
HP: Good question! Bottles at the moment…I’ve been collecting bottles whilst out walking Ronnie my dog
KM: Do you find many? We get a lot left on the beach in the summer.
HP: They’ve been collecting under my bed… I mean I find them around badger sets
KM: Badger sets??
HP: The nature reserve I walk Ronnie near where I live was a pre-war rubbish dump
KM: Oh I see! So they’re old bottles! How lovely!
HP: You’re not allowed to dig them up
KM: But the badgers unearth them
HP: But the badgers don’t know that!
KM: Thank heavens for badgers!
HP: So I look for bottles while Ronnie looks for squirrels
KM: That sounds like a good deal. It’s a bit like mudlarking.
HP: They’re not very valuable but I like finding bottles I haven’t seen before…
KM: I’d love that too. Can you tell what they once contained?
HP: So now I’ve got to figure out what to do with them all…
KM: Yes, what are you going to do with them all? I bet they’re beautiful!
HP: At the moment I’m floating bottles in a fish tank to see what happens…
KM: It sounds like you have a lot of fun. Do you always experiment like this?
HP: I’m trying to get just enough air in them so they only just float…Yes…
KM: I imagine them making lovely clacking sounds in the water
HP: They do a bit…I’ve ordered a couple of water pumps from Hong Kong to get the water moving. So an aquarium for bottles…
KM: Like strange fish! Are you a bit of a collector? I know Sonia is.
HP: and I need to sort out the lighting as well… It looks like a futuristic underwater city…Just with bottles thank goodness! Otherwise it would be unmanageable
KM: I hoard books. It’s getting out of hand…